It took a long time for me to love myself.
It was tough for me to accept me for me, flaws and all. It took a while to filter out the noise and stop listening and caring what other people said about me, what they did and didn’t like about me.
And what came with that long overdue acceptance was the reward I didn’t know I needed before… laughing at myself.
To be able to throw yourself under the bus and be honest about mistakes you make, and just be able to make fun of yourself is something that helps people succeed.
Even doing it at work.
When you fully immerse yourself into adulthood, especially as you are kicking off your career as a young 20-something-year-old, you don’t want to mess up. You want to prove you can do this job and then some. You want to be the very best (*cue Pokemon theme song*).
But if there’s one thing that I’ve learned the hard way, it’s that it is okay to mess up. Not just that, but it’s okay to mess up and own it. I don’t think I’ve learned anything valuable in my life by doing something right the first time. All the life lessons I have stored in my memory came from really painful experiences.
Especially at work.
We’ve all had jobs we don’t like, bosses we don’t care for, co-workers we can’t stand.
Sometimes, a workplace can just be so negative that it’s hard to find the laughter in the day. But what I learned, is that the more light you make out of crummy experiences, the easier it is to get through them.
In jobs where we don’t find time or reason for laughter, we will find every reason to not do our work, to distract ourselves, to procrastinate. Work becomes synonymous with seriousness… and too much of that can be draining on anyone.
Being too serious equals boredom which equals misery which equals unproductive over time.
But finding time to crack jokes at work, take quick breaks to talk with co-workers and joke around a bit not only makes work more fun, but it makes you more willing to do your work when you get back to doing what you’re tasked to do for the day.
Laughing makes working with others more enjoyable. It makes you more focused when you have time to defocus… does that make sense? Like you’re in a better mood to problem solve. No one wants to figure out how to do something challenging when they’re in a bad mood, right? Right.
Personally, I feel like so many people think those who work in my industry have to be serious all the time. We report the news, which, more often than not, tends to have a serious tone. That’s why you see videos of anchors and reporters joking around on set go viral.
People don’t expect that kind of playfulness from those with such “serious” professions. But for me, laughing at work, even while out in the field, even while interviewing people, is what’s helped me get my work done more efficiently. And it makes me more personable to be able to laugh at myself. It makes me more human. That’s particularly important in my field.
I’ve heard my laugh is contagious. It can be a bit obnoxious at times, but it doesn’t make me any less professional.
There are certainly times when it is appropriate to crack a joke and there are also certainly times where joking is inappropriate at work. Finding that balance is also key.
Good companies will know that treating its employees well and promoting laughter will consequentially promote more productive employees, and it could even promise a greater chance of longevity. Instead of companies spending millions on new technologies to improve their overall product or service, laughter is the simpler and cheaper way to improve the bottom line.
Managers who encourage laughter at work promote a more positive work environment. It makes people feel included, equal, valued, and happy to come to work every day.
So if you’re at a job that doesn’t promote laughter, maybe it’s time to find a new workplace that does? Or if that isn’t an option for you, find ways to laugh throughout the day, even if it’s something small. I promise a chuckle here and there makes work a heck of a lot more fun. You might even find that your passion for what you do increases with the amount of laughing you do. I know it did for me, at least.